A former Iredell County elementary school teacher has been charged with inappropriately touching students nearly three decades ago, the sheriffs office says.
John Thomas Patterson Jr., 65, of Mooresville, was arrested Friday after a five-month investigation that started with a tip from the public. Patterson was charged with 14 counts of taking indecent liberties with a child.
According to the sheriffs office, someone approached detectives in September and reported having information that Patterson allegedly had touched several children inappropriately in the 1980s. At the time, Patterson known as Tom Patterson was a fourth-grade teacher at Mount Mourne Elementary School.
Some of the incidents allegedly happened in the classroom, investigators say, while others occurred in other places.
Detectives say five alleged victims were identified initially, and each was under the age of 16 at the time of the incidents. But during the investigation, they say, the names of other possible victims have surfaced.
It is probable that more charges will be filed, sheriffs Capt. Rick Eades said.
Patterson was jailed under $100,000 bond.
Eades said the sheriffs office is working with the Iredell-Statesville Schools to gather information about students who attended Mount Mourne Elementary while Patterson was teaching there.
A spokeswoman for the Iredell-Statesville schools could not be reached Monday.
Anyone with information in the case is asked to contact the sheriffs office at 704-878-3183.